An issue is an immediate problem...that your members want to work on...
While you are getting organized, you can be working on Issues.
Characteristics of a good issue
1. Provides immediate benefits to your members
2. Easy to understand
3. East to participate in getting the solution
Participation is critical Your members need to participate in getting solutions to their problems...not just waiting for leaders to do it for them How can your members participate?
Make a written repair request (keep a copy)
Sign a petition or sign on letter
Participate in a rally or other public "action"
Talk to neighbors and community stakeholders
call inspectors or other public officials to make investigations
How can leadership make it easy for members to participate?
Explain the issue, including the member's legal right to seek improvements
Provide forms for maintenance requests
Provide a simple way to tenants to make copies of their requests.
Provide assistance in filling out the forms
Give examples of where working on issues has made a difference.
Confront retaliation against tenants who have made complaints-protect your members!
Example of tenant organization issues
Getting repairs: There's nothing better for your organization than being able to help your members get needed repairs.
Improving management relations: working on fair house rules, confidentiality in the office, confronting interference with tenant organizing activities
Reducing utility costs: If tenants are spending their own money on utilities, you can help them reduce costs through energy conservation projects and by fighting for weatherization/conservation investments in the property
Increasing household health conditions: addressing moisture, mold, rats & roaches, bedbugs, dust and other allergens. Sometimes tenants will need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability.
Increasing household and community safety: address the need for parking lot lighting, safety patrols, create fire safety plans, and crime watch relationships with local police